You’ve likely felt it before: pain or irritation in your knee that you can’t seem to shake. It might be slight, or it might even subside after a few months. It also might stick around or return frequently.
There are a lot of innocuous reasons for knee pain out there. There are also, however, many serious issues of which knee pain might be a symptom. If you’re experiencing this kind of pain regularly, it’s important to look into the matter. Early diagnosis of issues such as this can lead to better medical care.
What are the warning signs you should look out for to see if your knee pain is serious? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
1. Swelling At The Knee
The easiest way to tell that the knee pain you’re experiencing is worth taking seriously? Swelling that you can see or feel. That’s the most easily recognized symptom.
Why might swelling occur? Usually swelling is the result of a ligament injury or evidence of serious damage done to the cartilage. As such, it’s a very serious cause of concern.
A very little amount of swelling isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. This sort of swelling might fade away quickly. Excessive swelling is where you might want to head to see a doctor right away.
Extreme swelling should be visible: if one knee is much larger than the other, you might have a real medical issue on your hands. It should be checked out.
The speed at which swelling occurs could also be an indication of the seriousness of the issue. If your knee immediately blows up in size, it’s a good indication that the injury might be fairly serious.
2. Your Knee Is Locked
Another sign that your knee injury might be really serious? If you can’t fully straighten your leg outright. This is what is known in the medical community as a ‘locked knee.’
Sometimes, it’s the swelling and inflammation that contributes to one’s inability to straighten their leg. In other cases, a knocked lee might be a result of an issue with the ligament that is connected to this kind of movement.
Mechanical locking of the leg is sometimes a result of a tear in the meniscus of the ligament. This can be a very serious issue that requires immediate medical care. Many athletes run into this issue.
If you feel pain when you attempt to bend your knee it is is a good indication that it might be locked. This pan usually arises from when a meniscus tear is forced to move.
The most common type of meniscus tear is known as a bucket handle tear. This is a kind of tear that requires surgery to rectify. The meniscus is required to protect your knee, after all, and a tear in it could result in serious side effects!
The sooner that a doctor can begin work on the tear, the better the chances of a full recovery are. Therefore, going to seek medical attention quickly can be key.
3. You Felt Or Heard A Pop
When did your knee pain first occur? It might’ve been as a result of a physical action you took, such as twisting your knee at a certain angle. If you heard a loud popping sound just prior to the pain starting, it might be a serious cause for concern.
Why? This pop is generally a sign that you have torn your ACL, or at the very least dislocated your kneecap. A popping sound is almost always an indication of a very serious knee injury.
Dislocations are preferable to ACL tears. It’s possible that a dislocated knee cap might pop back into place within a few seconds after the initial dislocation. However, an injured individual would still want to head to a doctor and ensure there was no nerve damage as a result of the momentary dislocation.
You have to use your eyes and ears when looking out for your health. Listening out for a popping sound can be a huge tip-off for how seriously to take your current pain situation.
4. Difficulty Walking
There’s a good chance that if you’re experiencing some of the above symptoms, the simple act of walking might not be feeling so simple after all. Still, it’s worth repeating: if your knee pain is giving you walking issues, you might have a serious issue.
This is why you so often see athletes with knee injuries escorted off the field over the shoulders of teammates or doctors. They simply cannot walk on their injured leg.
Why might it be so difficult? Usually, those who feel severe weakness in their injured leg have torn some tendons or otherwise damaged one. A tear in the tendon means that your knee is physically unable to support your bodily weight.
Sometimes, putting weight on an injured knee can create even worse problems. If you’re having difficulty walking, it is better not to force things. Take the difficulty you’re experiencing as a sign that it is time to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Understanding Knee Pain Symptoms
You were out running, playing, walking, or doing some kind of physical activity when: wham. Your knee starts to hurt. Is it something you should take seriously or will it pass within a few hours or days?
The above information can help you determine how seriously to take your knee pain. It’s important that you understand the severity of your situation so that you can seek medical help immediately if need be.